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Mahan Esfahani: Bio

"The harpsichord may never quite be mainstream material, but you sense that, if it were ever to get there, Esfahani might just be the man to make it happen." (International Record Review, February 2014)

"It would be hard not to be impressed by Iranian harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. Young, suave, eloquent…he's an inquisitive mind…a phenomenally accomplished performance." (The Guardian, July 2012)

"elegant…impressive technique." (New York Times, April 2012)

"Esfahani, in total control technically, clearly delights in exploiting the expressive possibilities of the harpsichord and its sheer variety of sounds…." (Gramophone, July 2011)

Mahan Esfahani was born in Tehran in 1984 and received his first guidance on the piano from his father before exploring an interest in the harpsichord as a teenager. He went on to study musicology and history at Stanford University, where he was mentored by George Houle, before studying intensively with Peter Watchorn in Boston and completing his formation with the celebrated Zuzana Rů?ičková in Prague. He was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2008-2010, a Borletti-Buitoni Trust prizewinner, and in 2014 Mahan was on the shortlist both for the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year and Gramophone Artist of the Year – all firsts for the harpsichord.

Since making his London debut in 2009 he has worked tirelessly to establish the harpsichord in the mainstream of concert instruments in classical and contemporary repertoire. This mission came to significant public attention when Mahan played the first harpsichord recital in the history of the BBC Proms in 2011. Since then, recent and upcoming highlights include solo performances at the Zurich Tonhalle, Cologne Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall and the Barbican Centre in London, Wiener Konzerthaus, Schloss Elmau, Munich's Bell'Arte Festival, the Frick Collection in New York, Sumida Symphony Hall in Tokyo, Denki Bunka Kaikan in Nagoya, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Bristol Proms at the Old Vic, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Petronas Hall in Kuala Lumpur, the Bruges Concertgebouw, Mogens Dahl Koncerthus in Copenhagen, Pharos Arts Trust in Cyprus, Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds, the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, and the Leipzig Bach Festival.

Following two successful albums for Hyperion Records – with C.P.E. Bach's Württemburg Sonatas garnering a Gramophone Award and a Diapason d'Or, and the complete keyboard works of Jean-Philippe Rameau being named in the New York Times ‘Critics' List of Top Recordings of 2014' – Mahan Esfahani signed as an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon. His first album for DG/Archiv, ‘Time Present and Time Past' – a recording of music ranging from J.S. Bach and Scarlatti to Gorecki and Steve Reich – is due to be released in the Spring of 2015, and he can also be heard with fellow DG artist Avi Avital on the latter's recent Vivaldi album. He also has recorded Byrd and Ligeti for Wigmore Live, winning yet another Gramophone Editor's Choice. He is professor of harpsichord at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

1 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Aria  
2 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 1. a 1 Clav.  
3 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 2. a 1 Clav.  
4 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 3. Canone all'Unisono  
5 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 4. a 1 Clav.  
6 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 5. a 1 o vero 2 Clav.  
7 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 6. Canone alla Seconda.  
8 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 7. a 1 o vero 2 Clav. al tempo di Giga  
9 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 8. a 2 Clav.  
10 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 9. Canone alla Terza. a 1 Clav.  
11 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 10. Fughetta. a 1 Clav.  
12 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 11. a 2 Clav.  
13 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 12. a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quarta  
14 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 13. a 2 Clav.  
15 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 14. a 2 Clav.  
16 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 15. Canone alla Quinta.  
17 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 16. Ouverture. a 1 Clav.  
18 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 17. a 2 Clav.  
19 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 18. Canone alla Sesta. a 1 Clav.  
20 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 19. a 1 Clav.  
21 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 20. a 1 Clav.  
22 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 21. Canone alla Settima  
23 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 22. a 1 Clav. alla breve  
24 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 23. a 2 Clav.  
25 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 24. Canone all'Ottava. a 1 Clav.  
26 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 25. a 2 Clav.: Adagio  
27 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 26. a 2 Clav.  
28 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 27. Canone alla Nona. a 2 Clav.  
29 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 28. a 2 Clav.  
30 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 29. a 1 o vero 2 Clav.  
31 Bach: Goldberg Variations - Variation 30. a 1 Clav. Quodlibet  
Mahan Esfahani - Bach: Goldberg Variations (Trailer)
Mahan Esfahani: Bach: Goldberg Variations - Medly
Wigmore Hall presents Mahan Esfahani

Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani approaches one of the greatest works of the Baroque repertoire with fresh eyes: Bach's incomparable Goldberg Variations.  Following the success of his DG debut album, Time Present Time Past, Esfahani returns to the baroque and records one of the keyboard's undisputed masterpieces. Not only are the Goldberg Variations recognized for their genius, they are also surrounded by a number of stories.  Esfahani says, "I haven't the foggiest notion of what Bach's "Goldberg" Variations "are" and I find most of the cosmological and numerological chatter around them to be tremendously irritating, but I cannot deny that I find a great deal of narrative and life beyond the score when I play them. Coming in the last decade of the composer's life, they offer us a view both of someone looking back on his decades-long aesthetic transformation and of an innovative and sensitive musician responding to new trends and techniques around him."

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